Project Soft Power - Learn the Secrets of the Great Project Leaders
By Jeremie Averous, 2012
Let us be quite clear - you want to be a great project leader and not just an "ordinary" project manager, right? Well, this book, Learn the Secrets of the Great Project Leaders by Jeremie Averous is firmly advocating the adoption of project "soft power" over project "hard power". The point is, this is something you should strive for if you want to be a project leader on a higher plane than a mere project manager.
But let us be equally clear that in the project management domain there are, broadly speaking, two types of people. That is, the generally introvert types that encompass the imaginative explorer as well as the catalyst/coordinators who tend to be inward looking "problem solvers" - thoughtful, analytical and knowledgeable facilitators. On the other side, there are the generally extrovert types that include assertive drivers as well as the professional by-the-book administrators who are people-as-a-resource oriented - frank, demonstrative, outspoken and get-it-done types. Of these two, the former are generally more amenable to the use of "soft power" while the latter are wedded to "hard power".
Finally, for the record, this writer is firmly in the first camp holding great respect for those in the opposite camp, but with little time for those in the middle of the Myers-Brigs Type Indicator Grid.
To make his case, author Jeremie Averous has adopted an interesting approach. More than 40% of his book is taken up with an entirely fictitious tear-jerking but remarkably realistic case study. The essence of the case study is that two adjacent countries on opposite side of a great waterway wish to be united by a long under-sea tunnel. After much politicking, with its own particular lessons, agreement is reached for each side to tunnel from their respective countries and the team that arrives at the middle first will be the winner of a ridiculous but high profile prize.
Of course, you guessed it. One side adopts a well organized, by-the-book, project management approach that we recognize as the "hard-power" style, while the other adopts a much looser approach, the "soft-power" style. Both sides encounter all sorts of practical difficulties in their efforts that ring quite true largely because of Jeremie's many years of real-work experience in tunneling projects. One particular problem was solved by tunneling in a different stratum at a different level, but that meant that the two tunneling teams met at two different levels. While it is not difficult to guess which team won the prize in the end, the author does not explain how the two of them solved that particular problem of arriving at different levels!
Helpful tip: To keep track of the actors in the case study, note that except for their leaders the first names of all the members of the "hard power" team begin with "H", while those of the "soft power" team begin with "S".
About the author
Jeremie Averous is a senior executive, trainer and certified coach. With more than 15 years of experience in senior roles in the energy industry, he is the founding Senior Managing Partner of Project Value Delivery, a consulting company focused in the field of project management for large, complex projects.
8. Averous, Jeremie, Learn the Secrets of the Great Project Leaders, published by Fourth Revolution Publishing, Singapore, 2012, p5
9. For a more in-depth explanation of the different types of project
people see this paper: www.misol.cn/papers/success/intro.htm
10. For a explanation of this observation about Myers-Brigs Type
Indicator (MBTI), see this paper: www.misol.cn/papers/profiles/observations.htm
11. We can just imagine the political anguish that would have been generated had that occurred to the "Chunnel" tunnel under the English Channel!
12. Ibid, p14